Noodle Feast: The Taste of Northern China has been open for three years. I know that over time, this blog has become an outlet for what’s new and exciting in Edmonton but really, it’s actually a space for me to write about what’s excites me the most. Noodles. Noodles pull my heart (or stomach?) strings. Always have and always will!
Located on the corner strip mall on 99th Street and 34th Avenue, Noodle Feast has quickly become one of my most favourite restaurants in Edmonton. Although the space has been open since 2013, it’s only recently that I made the trip south to try their famous bowls of hand-pulled noodles, a specialty that very few can claim in this city.
If I’ve learned anything over the last year about Noodle Feast’s lunch time rush, it’s that you need to show up 15 minutes before the hour. The eatery opens at noon for lunch, meaning you have to duke it out with the Chinese diners at 11:45am and get ready to bolt from your car as soon as you see somebody heading to the door. Come five or ten minutes past opening and you’ve got a solid half hour to hour wait in front of you. Joe and I have been victims many times now to the dreaded wait but, in all honesty, it’s worth the wait. At 12:45pm, most of the tables for the first seating will be finishing up, freeing up space for those who patiently wait. It’s a shame that Noodle Feast can’t get rid of the three big round tables (which can seat up to 8 each) to make space for more 2-4 people tables.
The menu might look intimidating to first-timers, a spread of different toppings to go with your noodle of choice: sliced, rolled, or hand-pulled.
The hand pulled noodles (known as lamian in Chinese) is what Noodle Feast is known for. If it’s your first time visiting, I’d highly recommend giving the thicker, wider noodle a try. Fun fact: my beloved Japanese noodle soup dish, ramen, is historically disputed to have come from the Chinese lamian!
Working backwards on the menu, the rolling noodles are thinner and slightly narrower than your Italian fettuccine. The sliced noodles (knife-cut) are slightly thicker and wider than its rolled cousin, both viable options if you’re not up for a carb coma from the hand-pulled noodles.
Joe’s favourite is #205 Rolling Noodle in Special Sour and Spicy Soup with Pork and Vegetables. More sour than spicy, this bowl is hands down their most popular menu item. I actually like the predominantly sour notes of the dish, something different from all other noodle soup dishes in Edmonton. To quote Joe: “They’re eating #205. That table too. Everybody’s eating #205. I’m ordering #205.” He hasn’t tried anything else on the menu.
On my first visit, #312 Hand Pulled Noodles, Minced Pork Sauce and Hot Chili Oil nearly had me wishing I had more self control. I can tell you that my stomach had never been so full. The chili oil isn’t overwhelmingly spicy, a good warmth and slighty numbing quality from Szechuan peppercorns. The minced pork sauce is a ragu style stir-fry poured over top of the thick (and long!) hand pulled noodles. Although considered a dry dish (no soup), the ragu mixes in with residual noodle water at the bottom of the bowl, making each strand perfectly coated once mixed.
One time, I accidentally ordered #206. Spinach Rolling Noodles, Egg & Tomato Sauce, Minced Pork & Hot Chili Oil. You can imagine my surprise when all of a sudden my noodles were green. Available in limited quantities, I much preferred the thickness of the rolled noodles to the hand pulled noodles although I’m not sure if the spinach flavours were strong enough to come through.
#207 Rolling Noodles, Beef and Beef Bone Broth was a nice change from my favourite ragu, a beautiful beef broth with tender braised beef. Something about this bowl’s simplicity makes it all the more comforting.
There’s a section on the Noodle Feast menu for other eats… you know, in case the full bowl of noodles wasn’t enough for you! I know that a take-out box is always my companion out of Noodle Feast’s doors so I have no qualms ordering the Chinese Chive and Pork Dumplings (14 pieces) to share. Love. The Chinese Pork Burger (or roujiamo, “meat burger”) was soft on the inside, crisp and toasty on the outside and slightly messy with the drippings of pulled pork. A solid dish, although I’d prefer the pork to be better seasoned or better spiced to give it something to write home about.
My final thoughts: Noodle Feast tugs on all the right strings for me. Bowls top out at $14.99, and portions are large. Service is basically non-existant, please come in expecting to get seated with hot tea and your basic utensils, served, and then left alone for the remainder of your meal. Pay up front when you’re done and pack your own leftovers; this is the real deal Asian dining experience. Noodle Feast + me = HEART.Noodle Feast: A Taste of Northern China
3440 – 99 Street